Thursday, August 27, 2015

Finding The Right Gym: 101

I love the gym. I know a lot of people hate it but for me it's been a great place to let out frustration and release some endorphins. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to just lace up my shoes and go for a great run outside. But there is something about lifting some weights and doing other cardivascular exercises that gets me going.

I've made no secret that since moving here I needed some time to get settled before I joined a gym. Since I wasn't sure where I would end up living, I didn't want to end up stuck in a contract. Now that my husband and I are all settled in, it's time to make that commitment once again. In order to find the right gym though, you have to really sit down and ask yourself what are you looking for?  What are you really needing in a gym. Does cost play a big part on making your decision? Are you looking for fancy machines? Each person's needs are different.

Here are some criteria to consider when finding the perfect gym for you:
  • COST: You need to find a gym that isn't going to take all your monthly savings. Are there extra signing fees? Find a happy medium where the gym won't break your bank. Finding the right gym is a big financial commitment, so it’s even more important that you research your options before signing on the dotted line.
  • LOCATION: If you are planning on sticking with the gym, I would highly suggest picking a gym close to you.  If you choose a gym on the other side of town, will you really make it there consistently to work out? Finding a place close to home, school, or work would be ideal if not   you'll eventually find the excuse that the gym is too far to drive. I've been that person.
  • HOURS OF OPERATION: Nothing worse than signing up to a gym where they have very limited hours of operation. Wether you prefer to workout in the morning or evening, make sure the gym is open long enough or early enough to get a good workout. Also how busy does it get during the hours that you are interested in attending? 
  • EXTRA AMENITIES: One of my favorite things in the gym is to finish my workout with some deep stretching in the dry sauna. I look forward to it every time. Some gyms unfortunately do not have this amenity. Newer gyms are even offering tanning beds and massage tables.  So make sure the gym you pick has the amenities that will keep you coming back for more.
  • POOL: Technically having a pool is like an extra amenity but I did want to list it on its own since having a pool has great benefits. When I was training for a triathlon I logged in a lot of hours and miles in the pool lanes. 
  • CLEANLINESS: I am pretty sure this one goes without saying. Look around the gym and see if they offer towels to wipe off the equipment after each use.  Peek into the locker rooms and showers, especially if you’ll be using these often. Look at the toilets, sinks, and showers themselves to see that they’re properly maintained.
  • STAFF: Is the staff friendly and approachable? The staff members of the gym should be supportive and courteous. They should be ready to answer questions or spot you on a machine if needed. They are there to help you make the most of your workouts. Before selecting a gym, ask about the certifications of the staff members. Are they qualified to guide you through your fitness routine? And if you are interested in a personal trainer, what are their rates?
  • EQUIPMENT: Are there enough of the popular machines to go around, or do members have to wait in line to use them? Of course every gym has their busy times, but will you have to wait 30 minutes for a treadmill? Are there time limits on cardio equipment and is it enforced? If you run on a treadmill for an hour, then a 30-minute time limit won’t really suit you.
  • EXERCISE CLASSES: Before signing up for a gym, take a look at their class schedule. Are they offering the classes that you are interested in or would be interested in? I am a big fan of spin/cycle classes, but I have come across some gyms that charge extra for these classes. If that's the case then is it worth the cost?
When choosing a gym, set up a tour and bring a list of questions you want answered. Try to set up this tour during the time you will usually exercise. Most gyms will offer you free week or day passes to check out their facility.  The free pass will allow you to try out the equipment, classes, and other amenities firsthand. When picking your gym my biggest advice it that you should feel relaxed in your exercise environment, not embarrassed or intimidated. Some gyms are co-ed, while some are same-sex only. Others attract individuals of certain age groups. Will you be comfortable exercising around the current members? On your tour, does the gym seem overly crowded? Everyone responds differently to those around them, and you should keep this in mind before you choose a gym.


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I am linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons


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